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Jack Darling's Blog


Thoughts on 2010 Yearling Sales

Published: November 28, 2010 11:51 pm ET

Last Comment: December 1, 2010 9:11 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This part of our industry is in great shape. People love to buy yearlings and there seems to be an almost limitless amount of money out there to buy them. Owners and trainers that had a good year are taking their winnings and buying aggressively, the ones who had a bad year get steamed up and get more aggressive this time around, and the ones who have had several bad years in a row could go either way - super aggressive or passive. There always seems to be some new owners with big money joining in as well.

If they had another yearling sale two weeks after Harrisburg with 100 or 200 quality yearlings, they would probably sell even higher than they would have at any of the previous sales especially if they were high quality Ontario-breds.

It was nice having the Canadian dollar at close to par this year. It was helpful to be on a level playing field with the American bidders especially when trying to buy some of the more expensive yearlings.

I missed not having the welcome dinner at Harrisburg Sale this year. The quality of the food was excellent last year and it was a good chance to talk to the consignors and the other buyers in a relaxed atmosphere before the stress of the sale which is a real pressure cooker once things get rolling.

If I was an Ontario breeder I would breed almost exclusively to an Ontario sire.

It is an interesting dilemma for an Ont. buyer. Do I buy a mediocre bred Ont.-sired yearling for a premium price that has superior earning potential with moderate staking expenses..... or a better bred US sired one for less money that has limited earning potential unless it is great, with ridiculous staking fees. Our ultimate goal is to find an Ont. sired yearling that has it all.

Standardbred Canada's Canadian Yearling Sale quality was much improved this year.

I am glad that they didn't monkey with the Ontario Sires Stakes format at the recent meeting. It is a great program the way it is.

There seems to be a growing supply of trotting yearlings. The Lexington sale was almost half trotters. I bought two trotting yearlings this year for the first time.

Rob and Tammy of Twinbrook Farm deserve accolades for having the third highest average at Harrisburg. Eight yearlings averaging 48,375. They have gained a reputation as a farm that consistently produces good horses. The other remarkable consignor this year was Spring Haven, who as buyers can attest to, produced an amazing number of outstanding individuals. Senena, Stephanie et al are sure doing something right down there in Ohio.

I am looking forward to seeing the Somebeachsomewhere yearlings next year

Two yearlings stick out in my mind from Harrisburg that were knockout individuals. Both came back here to Ontario. My Heart Has Wings (Jeremes Jet-Heartofthematter) purchased by Paul Macdonell for 120,000 and College Major (Art Major-Armbro Wallflower) purchased by Jeff Gillis for 145,000.

I enjoy looking at the yearlings at Preferred. They are very professional with excellent service.

Hanover Shoe Farm is a shining beacon of honesty and integrity in our industry. Their yearlings are presented openly and honestly - what you see is what you get. As yearlings, at the first sign of a problem their OCD's are removed and it is reported on their stall door at the sale along with all details of the surgery and any other issues that they are aware of.

This year, Hanover announced that all of their yearlings were available for scoping and x-rays at their farm. Jack McNiven of Killean Acres belongs in this category as well.

I thought buying OSS pacers was tougher than buying OSS trotters this year.

Jim Carr, a great supporter of harness racing, was very active at the Harrisburg sale and put a lot of that "Big Jim" money back into circulation.

I think prejudices against certain sires [and we all have them] will hurt you at the yearling sales. Almost all of the commercial sires can produce a top horse.

John McKnight stepped it off and bought an outstanding young pacing mare at Harrisburg for his broodmare band in Ont. Her name is Casino Nights and she cost $90,000. She was a world class two and three-year-old with flawless conformation, excellent pedigree, outstanding race record and stakes earnings. This is the type of mare we need in Ont. where the buzz word should be quality and not quantity especially when the future appears to be heading toward less racing, not more.

I was impressed with the Jeremes Jet yearlings.

Three Ontario young gun trainers - Casie Coleman, Dave Menary, Jeff Gillis - were very active at the sales and are very astute yearling buyers at a young age.

I spent too much on yearlings this year.

Good luck to everyone with your yearling purchases.

December 1, 2010 - 9:11 pmGood read. Thanks for the

Good read. Thanks for the insightful comments Jack, spot on.

December 1, 2010 - 2:47 pm"I am glad that they didn't

"I am glad that they didn't monkey with the Ontario Sires Stakes format at the recent meeting. It is a great program the way it is."

Ya that's right Jack! Does any one think about why there are so many events that don't require eliminations anymore. B/C the rest of them all go lame trying to keep up! I'm not crying b/c I'm a little guy (which I am at 5'8"), but its not much fun for an owner to invest $30 000 (buy, stake, train) in a cheaper type yearling just to have his trainer get it to pace :55 and still not be able to get a sniff in the OSS. Remember a "grassroots initiative" is a big part of the Standardbred Canada sustainability plan.

November 29, 2010 - 3:46 pmIt is a pleasure to read

It is a pleasure to read anything you write Jack . Your thoughts,comments and observations are so well stated and make complete sense the minute you read them . Our sport suffers from a lot of negative press and when something good happens it often goes unnoticed and unfortunately also unsaid .There is an old saying that I have often used "Words of praise seldom go unheard but often go unspoken " .Thank you for taking the time to share your precious thoughts with all the SC readers .

Your closing statement "I spent too much ..." will undoubtedly be proven wrong when you come up with yet another world class pupil (maybe several) next season .

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